The Test of the Champion: Anticipating the Drama of Belmont Stakes 2023

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The Belmont Stakes is one of the most prestigious horseraces in the United States and the third jewel in the Triple Crown series. Held every June at Belmont Park in Elmont, New York, the Belmont Stakes 2023 is sure to offer excitement and drama as the top three-year-old Thoroughbreds compete for one of horse racing's greatest honors. Nicknamed the "Test of the Champion", the Belmont is known for its grueling 1 1⁄2 mile distance, the longest of the Triple Crown races. With the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes already run earlier in the spring, the Belmont presents the final challenge for any horse aiming to become the next Triple Crown winner.

Contenders for the 2023 Belmont Stakes

Several talented colts and fillies have already emerged as top contenders for the 2023 Belmont Stakes. Epicenter, who finished second in both the Kentucky Derby and Preakness, looks to be a formidable entry. His breeding suggests the longer Belmont distance will suit him well. Taiba, the upstart who nearly won the Kentucky Derby, could also contend if he rebounds from a disappointing Preakness run. Mo Donegal skipped the Preakness after a fifth place Derby finish, so he is rested for the Belmont and has the pedigree to excel at the distance. On the filly side, Nest looks like a leading player after dominating the Kentucky Oaks. Trainer Todd Pletcher, who has won the Belmont three times previously, believes Nest has what it takes to beat the boys.

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In addition to the horses aiming for the Triple Crown, some new shooters who did not run in the Kentucky Derby or Preakness will join the Belmont field. Creative Minister impressed in some early season races and has the right running style for the Belmont distance. Skippylongstocking is another fresh face who could shake up the field. Since the Belmont has the fewest starters of the Triple Crown races, any horse that makes the field has a shot if things break right on race day.

As post positions are drawn and workouts at Belmont Park get underway, the likely field will come into sharper focus. Horses like Epicenter and Nest may vie for favoritism, but the Belmont often produces unexpected outcomes. Longshot winners like Tiz the Law (2020), Sir Winston (2019), and Creator (2016) have found glory in recent editions, so bettors cannot ignore any entrants. With a wide-open field competing over the demanding course, the Belmont Stakes 2023 is sure to provide plenty of drama and suspense.

The Scene at Belmont Park

Part of what makes the Belmont Stakes so special is the atmosphere at massive Belmont Park. The grandstand can accommodate over 100,000 fans, making the Belmont the best-attended Triple Crown race. After limited capacity during the COVID pandemic, the 2023 Belmont should see the first full house since 2019. That electric environment with raucous crowds cheers on the horses down the long Belmont stretch never fails to give the race a big event feel.

In addition to the on-track experience, the sprawling grounds at Belmont Park provide plenty to see and do. Fans can walk through the beautiful gardens and floral displays that earn Belmont the nickname "The Summer Place to Be". The Belmont Festival includes high-stakes races for champion older horses to complement the main event. Food and drink options range from elegant fine dining to fun outdoor tailgating. With so much happening throughout Belmont Stakes day, it's no wonder the race has become synonymous with major sports celebrations in New York.

The 2023 running figures to uphold that lively tradition. After the disappointments of 2020 and 2021, New York racing fans will be out in full force. Their enthusiasm will motivate the horses and jockeys competing in one of America's classic sporting events. When the starting gates open for the mile and a half challenge, all eyes will be on the Belmont Park oval to see if a star is born in the "Test of the Champion."

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